Cake Designers Push The Envelope In Oklahoma

Cake Designers Push The Envelope In Oklahoma

Necessity often drives development and innovation. In this case, the need to develop the Grand National was driven by an issue that had repeatedly bothered me when I was producing a lot of cakes: matching an elegant cake with elegant table décor.

The Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show (OSSAS) was born 21 years ago. Under its umbrella are an extensive number of divisional competitions ranging from juniors to masters, and the crème de la crème event is the Grand National Wedding Cake Competition.

This competition came about largely due to an on-going frustration of cake decorators everywhere. Weekly, I would deliver wedding cake setups to fancy function sites and discover inappropriate tacky table décor, where nothing was matching and where tablecloths were tired, torn, mended, discoloured and should have been retired.

The final straw that cracked the croquembouche was an elegant understated ivory dogwood cake that had to be placed on a Mardi Gras cloth, in all of its garish purple, green and gold glory! Ugh, yes, I know the client has the final word as it is their day and they can choose whatever makes them happy… after all they sign the cheque.

I felt there must be other designers who were as frustrated and disenchanted at seeing the lack of harmony between cake and cloth. Motivated by annoyance, I made a quick decision to introduce a completely separate companion division at the OSSAS where competitors not only produced the cake, but also got the chance to design the table top décor to accent the cake display.

I was right, there was interest. The very first competition attracted 25 competitors and now there are anywhere between 70 and 85 cake decorators who contest annually, along with another 550 who participate in the companion event categories and divisions.

This year’s theme, 50 Shades of Pretty Cake, attracted the very best and brightest of cake art titans. The standard of excellence, always inspiring, was up from last year as returning and dark horse contestants continued to challenge themselves to push the envelope in an attempt to capture the elusive victory.

Competition is fierce and champions often say they feel like they have just won a Miss America title or the Super Bowl. It was great to even see an Australian do well in the competition.

I hope you enjoy a glimpse into the winners of this years Grand National Wedding Cake Competition.

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